The Federation of the Rural and Urban Poor of Malawi (previously known as The Malawi Homeless People's Federation) is a grassroots network of poor people. It was established in 2003 as a network of saving clusters across the country, and later expended to work with other groups in addition to savings groups.
The Federation works in alliance with CCODE, and is affiliated to Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI).
The Alliance works to train poor communities in fields such as the importance of daily community savings, income generation, and general community development. The Federation operates in 26 districts across Malawi, and over 80 per cent of its members are women. Women are central to the organization. The majority of members live in poor urban and rural communities
Community savings groups are the cornerstone of The Federation, as daily savings teaches members how to manage their finances and the importance of saving. Demonstration of savings and financial prudence in these groups enables them to access loans through a national revolving fund that is financially administered by CCODE, their technical support organization, and which is managed by The Federation members themselves. The fund provides loans for new homes, sanitation facilities, home upgrading and small business development.
As people meet weekly in the community to discuss their savings, broader issues and challenges emerge. As a result, members of The Federation are also are involved in leading and participating in a variety of development activities in an effort to improve the wellbeing of their communities. The Federation is working to address lack of sanitation facilities, land and housing, access to water and income generation opportunities as well as important health challenges.
The Federation upholds the following principles:
- Community-based daily savings and weekly meetings empower poor communities with skills and knowledge that can help them advance both socially and economically.
- Women are central to development.
- Community participation is critical to ensure ownership of initiatives and sustainability.
- Community-to-community exchanges are powerful tools that enable communities to share experiences and new ideas.